Monitoring agricultural risk in Canada using L-band passive microwave soil moisture from SMOS

Citation

Champagne, C., Davidson, A., Cherneski, P., L'Heureux, J., Hadwen, T. (2015). Monitoring agricultural risk in Canada using L-band passive microwave soil moisture from SMOS, 16(1), 5-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JHM-D-14-0039.1

Abstract

© 2015 American Meteorological Society. Soil moisture from Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) passive microwave satellite data was assessed as an information source for identifying regions experiencing climate-related agricultural risk for a period from 2010 to 2013. Both absolute soil moisture and soil moisture anomalies compared to a 4-yr SMOS satellite baseline were used in the assessment. The 4-yr operational period of SMOS was wetter than the 30-yr climate normal in many locations, particularly in the late summer for most regions and in the spring for the province of Manitoba. This leads to a somewhat unrepresentative baseline that skews anomaly measures at different parts of the growing season. SMOS soil moisture does, however, show a clear trend where extremes are present, with drier-than-average conditions during periods that drought and dry soil risks were identified and wetterthan-average conditions when flooding and excess moisture were present. Areas where extreme weather events caused crop losses were identifiable using SMOS soil moisture, both at the provincial and regional scales. The variability in soil moisture between at-risk areas and normal areas is very small but consistent, both geographically and over time, making SMOS a good real-time indicator for risk assessment.